- File Size: 103 KB
- Print Length: 25 pages
- Publisher: Patheos Press (December 1, 2011)
- Publication Date: December 1, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B006H4PFZ8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
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- #150 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Christian Books & Bibles > Education
- #165 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Christian Books & Bibles > Christian Living > Women's Christian Living
Junia Is Not Alone Kindle Edition
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Junia's story is indeed a fascinating one, and her mistreatment over most of the last two thousand years is sad, infuriating, or worse. This little book is a perfect read for those who have not yet come to grips with the idea that when we read “the Bible,” especially those of us who don't read Biblical Greek and Hebrew, we are reading translations of ancient manuscripts, most of which date from centuries after they were first written down. (And some of them were only written down for the first time centuries after they were spoken aloud, but that's another matter entirely.) Translating those ancient manuscripts is never easy, and always involves lots of hard choices. Junia's story puts all this in stark relief. Chapter three, “How Junia Got a Sex Change,” shows that the difficulties in translation work are not just literary, but also and often political. This chapter would be a perfect text from which to introduce this important topic in Bible study groups that have never included this idea before. You can't really engage the Bible seriously if this problem or reality isn't always in the background.
McKnight reminds us—and we need the reminder—that there are some pretty amazing women in the Bible. In the Old Testament, he mentions just a few of them: Rebekah, Ruth, Esther, and Huldah. Deborah, as he points out, can be viewed in modern terms as both a president and a pope, and even a Rambo. And in the New Testament, among very many others, we have Priscilla and Phoebe. Priscilla was the teacher of Apollos, one of the great if unknown figures of the earliest church. And Phoebe was a deacon, not a deaconess. Yes, he admits, everyone has heard of Mary the mother of Jesus, but even here, there's a problem: much of what we hear about her is inaccurate, as he puts it.
Chapter four introduces us to other women who have been silenced in the church, though from more modern times. I was so caught up in their stories, it bothered me that he never gave us their names. As a historian, I was somewhat chagrined that I had only heard much about of one of them, had come across another's one name and career briefly, and had not heard of one of them all. But when he did name them later in the book, it hit me. He was making a point! I am a regular reader of his blog, and I have watched some videos of his talks online, so I should not have been surprised. He is a very able communicator, whether in print, from a lectern, or behind a pulpit. But he also tells us the story of another modern woman, Alice, a former student of his, and its a heart-warming story. We need to know more stories like hers.
McKnight ends this short book—in the old days we would have probably called this a chapbook if it were printed out—with a plea and a plan: “How to Help the Church Find Its Junia(s).” He starts with a provocative way to do that from the pulpit, but he calls on writers to do it too. He doesn't mention Bible study groups, but I think that might be one of the most effective ways of getting it done. And it does need to get done. It is indeed a matter of justice. But I can't help but think there are a lot of young women out there, especially in certain parts of the church in the United States, who if they heard more of these stories would be encouraged to become more active in their congregations at every level.
As part of the conclusion, McKnight tells us about an exchange he had with a gentleman that started with an email and ended with a phone call. The moral of the story was that the man—and I hope this doesn't come across as disparaging in any way—just didn't get it about the need to more and better tell the story of women in the Bible and in church. As McKnight points out, that has been going on for two thousand years now. The man wanted “balance” in including men and women in the stories. As McKnight rightly points out, to achieve balance, we'd have to tell only womens' stories for the next two thousand years!
This inexpensive ebook is a great introduction to this amazing woman, and an invitation to learn more not only about Junia, but about lots of other great Jewish and Christian woman from across the last three thousand years and more. McKnight's footnotes point us to E. J. Epps' biography of Junia, and other good sources as well. I know I'll be reading some of that material, and I'll be opening up this book again from time to time.
Thank you, Scot McKnight!
I am a Christian woman who has yearned to learn Biblical Greek and Hebrew for more than 20 years, but since I was raised in conservative Christian circles where a woman must be in submission to all men, never in authority, it was something I have never pursued, because I could see no real purpose in it. About ten years ago, I began reconsidering it, assuring myself that I could always at least maybe do youth ministry, you know? But life got bumpy and finally ended with a new husband and a new church - a church that broke apart from its main group because they dared to allow women to preach to men.
The church I had been attending when I met him was similar, so it didn't bother me. I had been taught the Quiverfull type of submission and reality (which my husband says is enough to drive a woman insane if she follows it without any real heart for it) - I was honestly taught that women, as daughters of Eve, were incapable of spiritual discernment, and this was why we must always be subject to men - because we were incapable of knowing God's right from sin.
I am a very intelligent woman. Worse, I feel this incredible longing to share exegesis with others - to get deep into texts, compare other places words are used to tease out the deeper meaning of Scripture. The youth at the current teacher have told adults who asked them that they would most willingly attend Sunday School if I were asked to be their teacher and allowed to do so. My heart yearns to teach them, and grown ups - so much.
In sharing the stilled, erased voices, hidden because their stories are not shared, the author passionately awakens our hearts to their history, and you cannot help but want to know more of those women, and other women who had a passion for Christ who have been ignored in history. The last paragraphs moved me to tears and made me once again wonder how I might learn Biblical Greek and Hebrew, and if there is a place for my own voice.